Norms for data use

Norms for data use


In 2015, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) adopted an open data policy, with the goal to publish our biodiversity data as open data, so anyone can use these. In the norms below we express our wishes regarding appropriate data use. These norms are not a legal document nor requirement, but by adopting them, you encourage us to unlock more biodiversity data.


Give credit where credit is due

As is common practice in scientific research, cite your sources. This holds true for datasets as well. The involved researchers, volunteers, and technical personnel have invested a lot of time and effort in collecting, managing, and publishing the biodiversity information you are using. They deserve credit for their work. For scholarly publications, follow the citation practices that apply (such as the GBIF best practices on data citation) and/or consider the creators of the dataset for co-authorship. In any other context, include at least a link (e.g. to the original dataset if technically feasable.

Be responsible

We publish our data to allow anyone to better study and understand the world around us, so use these responsibly. Do not use the data in any way that is unlawful, harmful, or misleading. Understand that the datasets may be subject to change, errors, and sampling bias. Read the metadata to better understand the scope and original intent of the dataset, thus reducing the risk of misinterpreting the data.

Respect the CC0 waiver

To help you make greater use of our data, we dedicate these to the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) waiver. Do not provide false or misleading information about the open status of the data.

Get in touch

Get in touch! We are always interested to know how you have used or visualized our data, or to provide more information. It helps both of us reach a wider audience and could be the start of a great collaboration. You can contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata,, or our twitter account @INBOVlaanderen.

Preferred citation

Our norms are based on those of the Canadensys network, which in turn are based on norms of the Europeana Foundation and Open Data Commons. This document is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license. You can cite it as: 

Desmet P, Brosens D, Du Seuil D, Goossens B (2014) INBO norms for data use. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO).


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